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Stormers blow Rebels away

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The Stormers are back to winning ways after beating the Melbourne Rebels 34-18 at Newlands, Cape Town.

The Stormers scored four tries to two, ending their month-long three-game losing streak while condemning the Rebels to a fourth loss on the bounce.

JJ Engelbrecht and Sefa Naivalu – a late inclusion after Jack Maddocks pulled up injured – both grabbed two tries apiece.

The Cape side took a commanding 24-6 lead after the interval, but Dave Wessels’ men fought back after the break.

Damian de Allende, Engelbrecht, and Dillyn Leyds dotted down for Robbie Fleck’s team in a game they dominated for long periods.

Naivalu scored a 53rd-minute try to reduce the Cape side’s lead to 11, but Damian Willemse’s second penalty extended the home team’s lead to two converted tries.

The Rebels had the better of the last quarter. Naivalu’s second, a carbon copy of his first try after the Australians went 17 phases to score gave the visitors hope.

However, with the hooter sounding, the Stormers again bulldozed the Rebels’ pack, setting up Engelbrecht for his second.

This was simply a game the Stormers had to win.

Fleck has come in for some criticism with his style of play and tactics and could not afford another loss, not at home.

The Rebels coach, Wessels had started the 2018 Super Rugby campaign with some glorious victories, some of the wins historic, but his team has fallen off the pace in the past month.

The Stormers established an early dominance in the scrums, one they would continue to assert throughout the match.

Jack Debreczeni’s two penalties sandwiched Willemse’s as the visitors took a 3-6 lead.

It was a short-lived lead. De Allende was tackled, released the ball, got up and burst through the Rebels line.

The centre burst though Debreczeni before handing off Reece Hodge to score the game’s first try.

The opening half was littered with handling errors and penalties; signs of two teams under pressure and lacking confidence.

The Stormers thought they had a second before the half-hour, but it was ruled out.

EW Viljoen stepped on his inside and ghosted through the Rebels defenders.

De Allende impeded Hodge which opened the space for his centre partner; no try.

The home team were ramping up the intensity and soon extended their lead.

The Rebels were defending the Stormers driving maul, well, keeping the home team out.

But it was in the wide channels that they were suffering.

It came from another big scrum by the Stormers, winning the Rebels put-in. Willemse’s long pass to the Pieter-Steph du Toit cut out all the defenders.

Engelbrecht gathered Du Toit’s pass and was in for his first, with seven minutes remaining before the break.

The home team came out firing, scoring soon after halftime.

Dewaldt Duvenage wonderful grubber after the Stormers bulldozed the Rebels scrum, set up the Leyds’ score.

The fullback chased the bouncing ball, pouncing on top of it just before it rolled over the dead-ball line.

Willemse missed a rather simple penalty which would have taken the game to three scores.

The fact that Siya Kolisi opted for the posts and not a scrum or lineout inside the Rebels’ 22, told of the pressure his team were under to get a win: any win.

The Rebels were starting to find a foothold on proceedings.

They kept the ball for long periods and went through 16 phases of patient build-up play, for their first try.

They sucked in the Stormers defenders before releasing the Naivalu on the touchline, who strolled in untouched.

Willemse added another penalty soon after to put his team 27-13 ahead.

Debreczeni pushed his kick wide; a bad miss at an important time in the match.

The Australians had the South Africans on the backfoot, halting any attack and camping inside their half, but they could not breach the defensive line.

The Stormers were flooding the breakdown, winning crucial turnovers, only to lose the ball with more handling mistakes or loose passes.

Their lineout had begun to get shaky, losing possession in critical areas of the field due to skew throws.

The clock was ticking down, the visitors needed hope, even if it was a fool’s hope.

It duly came in the form of a carbon copy of their first.

The Rebels went 17 phases this time, sucking in defenders before sending the Naivalu away for his brace.

It was something to behold, too.

The Rebels forward’s charged around the breakdown, carried with intent and bashed their way over the advantage line before going wide.

Debreczeni missed the conversion which meant his team still needed to score twice.

There was no miracle under Table Mountain. The Stormers found one last effort to clinch the game.

Another big scrum by the home pack set up a superb team try.

From the base of the set-piece, they broke, recycling possession quickly, using a couple of pick-and-goes before going wide.

They were cutting through the Rebels defenders.

The came to Engelbrecht. The winger’s show-and-go opened up the gap and he cut inside two defenders and ran in untouched.

What followed was scenes of joy on the field and in the stands.

Stormers versus Rebels video highlights.

Final score: Stormers 34 (17) Rebels 18 (6)

Scorers

Stormers
Tries – De Allende, Engelbrecht (2), Leyds
Pen – Willemse (2)
Con – Willemse (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Rebels
Tries – Naivalu (2)
Pen – Debreczeni (2)
Con – Debreczeni
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Christie du Preez

Teams

Stormers

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Johannes Engelbrecht, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Sarel Marais, 23 Seabelo Senatla.

Melbourne Rebels

15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.

Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Tayler Adams, 23 Semisi Tupou.

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